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Those blackjack players who read strategy articles on Counting Edge are very familiar with the basics of the game. Everyone knows that busting a hand, or going over 21, will cause the player to lose. Logic would then suggest that never busting a hand of blackjack would be good for the player. That is the appeal of the No-Bust Blackjack game that if offered by some casinos.

Is No-Bust Blackjack as good a blackjack variation as it sounds? Is there a proven strategy that one can use to win at No-Bust Blackjack? Let’s see if we can find answers to these questions by taking a look at the game in more detail.

California No-Bust Blackjack

No bust blackjack

As the official name of this blackjack game suggests it came to prominence in California. It is mostly found throughout California in card rooms and casinos where the game is legal. For some reason this variation of blackjack has never really caught on outside of California card rooms. That’s probably because it gives the player an added edge.

No-Bust Blackjack is basically played the same way as regular blackjack, but there is one major difference. The game uses a standard deck of cards plus one joker for a total of 53 cards. The joker is a wild card and can serve as any value. It can even be counted as more than 11. Anytime that a player holds a joker and any 2-K card the player has a total of 21 and must stand.

There are also certain hands in this form of blackjack which qualify as naturals. If the player is dealt a natural and the blackjack dealer does not have one the player automatically wins and is paid 2-1. The naturals are:

  • Two jokers
  • Two aces
  • One ace and one joker

Surrender is permitted in No-Bust blackjack. This is another advantage for the player. It is the no-bust element of the game, however, which makes this a fun blackjack game to play.

If the player and dealer both bust the player can still win the hand if their hand is a lower total than the dealer. So, if the player busts with a total of 22 and the dealer busts with a total of 24, the player collects their bet. If the players bust total exceeds the bust total of the dealer the player loses.

In all other aspects the play of No-Bust Blackjack is the same as it is in other live casino games. Players can hit, stand, double, and split.

No-Bust Blackjack Strategy

In terms of blackjack strategy there are a few modifications to basic blackjack strategy that the player should master. These mainly involve moves that could cause the player to bust. A player can be a little more loose when it comes to hitting so-called bust hands.

For example, basic blackjack strategy would call for you to stand on a 17 in almost all situations. In No-Bust Blackjack you might choose to hit a 17 when the dealer is showing a ten. Players are usually advised to always assume a dealer has a ten in the hole. Therefore, in the above situation, a 17 would be a dead hand. Hitting the hand could provide some wins in the long run in No-Bust Blackjack.

Where the player is most going to benefit from this variation of blackjack is that dreaded 16. A total of 16 is universally hated by all blackjack players. It is considered the worst possible total to hold against a dealer who has a strong upcard. Against a dealer’s 7-10 basic strategy almost always advises the player to hit the 16. The exception would be the 8-8 version of 16. Strategy calls for splitting the 8’s in that case.

Hitting a 16 is never fun, but in No-Bust Blackjack you can actually turn some of those hands into winners. There will be times when the dealer will bust. If you also bust and your bust total is lower you will win the hand.

At the present time the only way to play No-Bust Blackjack is at a live casino in California. If you would like to play regular blackjack online we recommend that you try one of our partner casinos such as casino max, Miami Club, high country casino, cherry jackpot casino, or Roaring21 to name a few.. In many cases you can receive a nice blackjack bonus for signing up, and you can play blackjack from home on a computer, phone, or tablet.


What is No Bust Blackjack?

No Bust Blackjack is a strategy where players avoid taking additional cards if there’s a risk of busting, i.e., if their hand totals 12 or more. The objective is to hope that the dealer busts instead. There’s also a variant called California No Bust Blackjack, where players can win on busted totals, provided their busted total is lower than the dealer’s busted hand​.

What are the odds in No Bust Blackjack?

By employing a no bust strategy, there’s a 33.15% probability that the dealer will bust, which leaves a 66.85% chance of losing if the player chooses not to hit on a total of 15. However, if the player decides to hit on a 15, they run a 58.58% chance of busting, showcasing that the odds are unfavorable either way, but less so if the player takes the risk to hit​.

What is No Bust 21?

No Bust 21 is a blackjack variation where the player may push even if they bust, and two jokers per deck immediately make any hand 21 points. This game is found in some casinos in Las Vegas and Los Angeles county, offering a unique spin on the traditional blackjack game.

What are the recommendations for players interested in No Bust Blackjack?

Trying the No Bust strategy can be a unique experience, but it’s not recommended for long-term play due to its high house edge. It’s advisable to adhere to basic blackjack strategy for better odds. If players are keen to try No Bust Blackjack, it’s suggested to do so with play money to save real money for when they choose to follow a more proven strategy.

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